Southern Hush Puppies

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Southern Hush Puppies are round golf ball sized, light and flakey cornmeal batter that is fried golden brown on the outside and soft on the inside served as a side dish to any southern meal. These hush puppies are the perfect side dish ready in minutes! 

This side dish is perfect for pairing with any fried food or southern favorite dish. If you love southern food as much as I do try this Chicken Fried Steak, Cajun Garlic Shrimp and Grits or Best Oven Fried Chicken.

Hush Puppies on a plate with a side of tartar sauce.

The Best Hush Puppies Recipe

Hush puppies are made up of corn meal batter that has garlic powder, onion powder and a hint of paprika for some added spice. The cornmeal batter has flour, cornmeal, a little sugar and buttermilk as a sweetener and aiding in smoothing the batter. Mixed these all together and your batter is thick, rich and creamy. Perfect for dropping into a heated skillet filled with oil.

These little hush puppies are small, bite sized fun side dish that are easy to eat and Oh.So.Good! They are a savory sweet, a hint of spiciness with a tender, flakey inside that tastes AMAZING! Hush puppies are mouth watering good and so easy to make. With a golden brown crunchy outside and a tender, flakey inside these hush puppies are sure to please family and friends at your next southern dinner.

Simply mix together the hush puppies batter and add them by the spoonful into a hot oiled pan. Complete a meal with this quick and easy side dish that is perfect to serve with seafood or any other deep fried recipe. Every bite will be making you want more!

What are Hush Puppies?

Hush puppies are small, round balls that are deep fried dough that is made from cornmeal batter with extra seasonings. These are simple to make and known in the southern community. They are typically served as a side dish to seafood.

Why are Hush Puppies called Hush Puppies?

There are a couple reasons these are known to be called hush puppies. One is the fried round balls were thrown at dogs to have them stop barking and to hush them essentially. The other theory is, hush puppies were a humbling meal that was hush-hush when you were serving it to your family. Both are thought to be true where the name came from but I am just grateful someone came up with this sweet side for all of us to enjoy!

How to Make Homemade Hush Puppies:

Make sure to preheat your oil for these homemade hush puppies. It is best to use a candy thermometer to have on the side of the skillet you are frying your hush puppies in. To test the oil to make sure it is hot enough, drop in one inch batter and see how quickly it fries. It should be 2 to 3 minutes of frying spinning it around. Once the mixture is mixed together evenly continue to add in more hush puppies batter to the hot oil cooking these quickly. Serve with a side of tarter sauce and enjoy!

  1. Preheat oil: Preheat 2 inches of oil in a large skillet to 365 degrees.
  2. Mix together the dough:  In a medium sized mixing bowl add the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and pepper. Add the egg and buttermilk and stir until combined. Stir in cubed butter.
  3. Cook in oil: Drop the batter by rounded teaspoonfuls in the hot oil. Let cook until they are golden brown 2-3 minutes. Remove with a metal strainer on a paper toweled lined plate. Serve with tarter sauce if desired.

My Pro Tip:

Add in small cubed cold butter. This will release pockets of moisture into the hush puppies while they cook. It makes every bite perfect and moist! 

The process of making hush puppies with the cornmeal and egg mixed together, the dough formed in a ball then added to the oil for frying until golden brown. Then removed with a strainer from the oil.

Hush Puppies Ingredients:

Simple ingredients for a simple recipe. Mix together the ingredients until it is smooth and creamy. See how quick and easy it is to make, then add golf ball sized round balls to the oil, spinning the ball around until the outside becomes a golden brown. The inside will maintain a light and flakey dough. These are best served with tartar sauce or even ranch dressing.

  • Oil: Used for frying
  • Flour: This is a main ingredient that thickens the hush puppies and gives it the texture it needs to be fried.
  • Cornmeal: Is an additive that is finely ground up maize.
  • Sugar: This is used to give a sweet taste to the hush puppies.
  • Baking Powder: Helps rise and increase the dough as well as lighten the texture.
  • Salt: Just a pinch!
  • Garlic Powder: Adds in a garlic flavoring.
  • Onion Powder: Gives an onion flavor without the texture.
  • Paprika: A hint of spice.
  • Pepper: Just a bit
  • Large Egg: This helps bind the hush puppies together.
  • Buttermilk: Sweet and creamy milk.
  • Cold Butter: This helps in expanding the dough that creates pockets of air in the dough making it light and fluffy on the inside.
  • Tartar Sauce: Used for dipping the hush puppies into.

Hush puppies on a plate with a side of tartar sauce.

Expert Tips for Making Easy Hush Puppies:

  • Cornmeal: If you are using self-rising cornmeal and flour omit the baking powder and salt for the recipe. This will ensure a lighter batter.
  • Add-ins: Add in minced jalapeños or red pepper flakes for a little more heat. Switch out your favorite seasonings to make different variations.
  • Batter Tip: It is best not to over mix the batter. If the batter looks lumpy that is okay.
  • Dropping batter into oil: For an easier way to drop the balls into the batter I like to use a cookie dough scooper to not only for the round balls but also drop them in without using my fingers. It is a cleaner and easier way.
  • Cooking spray: To make it easier when dropping the batter into the oil, simply spray cooking spray on the cookie dough scooper or your spoon that you are using to help relieve the sticky batter into the oil.
  • Oil: I used a peanut oil for taste but it also does the best at high temperatures when deep frying. Vegetable oil or canola oil work well too. Olive oil is not a deep frying oil to use.
  • Keep warm: While making several hush puppies, place the hush puppies in an oven safe pan and let them rest in the oven at the lowest temperature (about 200 degrees Fahrenheit). Do not over bake your hush puppies though. The maximum amount of time in the oven is about 15 to 20 minutes.

FAQs when making Homemade Hush Puppies:

  • What is the best oil to use when frying? It is best to use peanut oil, vegetable oil or canola oil. Olive oil does not do well in the heat.
  • Can you fry hush puppies? Yes! They will look more like a corn bread but still have the same delicious flavor. Add the batter into spoonfuls or cookie dough round balls onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown, flip in between.
  • How long can hush puppies be stored? It is best to serve them right away while they are still warm but they can be stored in the refrigerator and warmed up in the oven the next day.

More Delicious Southern Recipes to Try:

Hush puppies being dipped in tartar sauce.

Southern Hush Puppies

4.60 from 15 votes
Southern Hush Puppies are golf ball sized, light and flakey cornmeal dough that is fried golden brown on the outside and soft on the inside served as a side dish to any southern meal. These hush puppies are ready in minutes! 
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Author Alyssa Rivers
Servings: 8 People


  • oil For frying
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup Cornmeal
  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 2 teaspoons Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon Pepper
  • 1 Egg Large
  • 1 cup Buttermilk
  • 4 tablespoons Butter Cold and cut into small cubes
  • Tarter Sauce for serving


  • Preheat 2 inches of oil in a large skillet to 365 degrees. In a medium sized mixing bowl add the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and pepper. Add the egg and buttermilk and stir until combined. Stir in cubed butter.
  • Drop the batter by rounded teaspoonfuls in the hot oil. Let cook until they are golden brown 2-3 minutes. Remove with a metal strainer on a paper toweled lined plate. Serve with tarter sauce if desired.



Serves: 8

Calories185kcal (9%)Carbohydrates24g (8%)Protein4g (8%)Fat8g (12%)Saturated Fat5g (25%)Cholesterol39mg (13%)Sodium672mg (28%)Potassium184mg (5%)Fiber2g (8%)Sugar3g (3%)Vitamin A316IU (6%)Calcium74mg (7%)Iron1mg (6%)

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.

Course Side Dish
Cuisine Southern
Keyword Hush puppies, hush puppies food, Hush puppies recipe
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic

Alyssa Rivers

I am Alyssa and the blogger behind The Recipe Critic. I started my blog in June of 2012 as a place to share my passion for cooking. I love trying new things and testing them out with my family.

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  1. 5 stars
    It was a hit with my family. Really good flavoring/seasoning, and they had a good texture. I did cube the butter as the recipe specified but I made really small cubes (pea size); next time I may try the cheese grater as others suggested.

  2. This is my go-to hush puppy recipe! Any time we have seafood or bbq, this is what we use! We are headed on a family vacation and want to make these ahead of time and reheat – any suggestions? I’m thinking cook as normal, freeze, then heat in the oven for 15-18 minutes around 400?

  3. 4 stars
    These were good, but next time I will lessen the salt and I will also omit the butter entirely. The hush puppies had a good flavor but the butter made them too greasy. I also added a little chopped onion.

  4. I just tried this recipe out for my family and we really like them! I added some finely chopped onion and jalapeno and they turned out super light and fluffy. Next time I will probably add more cornmeal or less flour because we like them a little denser, but will definitely be using this recipe again!

  5. 5 stars
    Best I have ever made, almost as good and Grandpa’s but I think with the memories attached, that would be hard to beat.

  6. 5 stars
    BEST thing for frying hush puppies in is lard. Keep it above 350 F but below 375 F and don’t drop so many in that your lard drops below 350. As long as the temp stays up the lard won’t sink into the dough…as much.

    We fry the catfish in the lard and keep it in a warmer then do the hush puppies. Oh well we try but we usually end up eating them both as they come out of the fryer. We use corn flour in the fish breading to keep the flavor thread between the two…we’ve even gone back and fried hush puppies in the lard we fried the fish in to carry the fish flavor over…works really well when you fry shrimp in the lard before the hush puppies.

    1. 5 stars
      Recipe very good. Lee, thank you for explaining the temperature. I was having problems with my puppies only browning on one side, they wouldn’t stay flipped over. When I watched the temperature… viola! perfect!

  7. 3 stars
    Put way less garlic and salt it!!!

    I followed the recipe and it was way to salty and garlicky. Put like half as much in.

  8. I would like to have been sure about the flour–self-rising or all purpose. Then I would use real diced onions. Otherwise great flavor.

    1. 5 stars
      I just used all purpose flour. The baking powder poofed them up just fine. I chopped up onion to add to the batter. That made the result subtle with onion flavor. Buttermilk also helps them be airy and light too.

      1. 1/4 cup should do it, or perhaps one half of a med size onion. To release some of the gasses, just lightly salt the diced onion (remember to omit the salt in the recipe) and let stand for 10 min, squeeze out the liquid (its ok if you quickly rinse them, just remember to squeeze out the juices) and add to the recipe along with the other ingredients. Also, you can always (and should) cook one sample ball and go back and adjust some of the flavorings if needed. But, be careful not to overmix. If it just needs a touch more salt, you’re most likely going to salt them at the end anyway.

  9. Excellent recipe!!! We are eating them while we are cooking them! Hope we leave enough for everybody els! Love the addition of butter.

    1. Yes, you will be cutting in the butter. Keep in mind though the key is not over-mixing this batter, and the butter pieces need to be at least pea size. So I usually just stir together to combine. If you have a pastry cutter that would work great too or two knives or forks.

  10. 3 stars
    The only thing I’d change is the amount of salt. Prior to the recipe it mentions “just a pinch”, however the recipe calls for two tea spoons. Not sure if it’s a typo. Otherwise very good, fluffy and light.
    Thank you

    1. 5 stars
      Your right and I’d add an extra tbl spoon of garlic powder. I love them with a garlic kick! They also need some fresh green onions chopped to mix in. That’s how we like them in South Mississippi…

      1. I am lactose intolerant, can I substitute almond milk with bit of vinegar or lemon juice for the buttermilk? And if I do, should I also add a dash of heavy cream to the substitute mix? I can usually tolerate a very small amount. Or will the cubed butter make up for the reduced fat?

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